The tide that lifts all boats

Jun 16, 2024


How to make all employees feel safer at work and more willing to build authentic connections.

The architecture, engineering, and construction industry is in a recruiting and retention crisis. So how do we attract the right talent and retain them? Within this scarcity we need powerful solutions. The science says that building an inclusive culture draws new talent to your organization and promotes retention. And recent research shows that inclusion efforts actually benefit both majority and minority group members.

New data shows the key is signaling inclusion at an organizational level. For majority group members, signaling inclusion leads to more allyship behaviors – positive actions on behalf of a different group member.

For both majority and minority group members, signaling inclusion leads to:

  1. Rating the organizational culture higher.
  2. A higher likelihood of revealing one’s personal identities that may be sensitive or intimidating to share at work (relationship status, parental status, religious identity, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.).

What causes these positive outcomes?

For both groups, the research shows that signaling inclusion makes all employees feel safer at work and more willing to take social risks and build authentic social connections.

So how can your organization signal inclusion? Signaling inclusion can take many forms such as:

  • Supporting identity-based employee-resource groups.
  • Utilizing a DEI team/committee/consultants to support DEI initiatives.
  • Building a DEI strategic roadmap.
  • Providing DEI learning and development.
  • Assessing your key people systems for inclusiveness (think hiring and promotions).
  • Offering inclusive benefits.
  • Conducting community outreach.

As leaders, we can’t simply hope everyone treats each other with respect and inclusion or leave the work of DEI to the individual allies in the organization. Instead, we have to signal inclusion from the top down. Organizations can be allies. And the good news is that DEI actually raises all boats, creating a more safe, connective workplace for everyone.

Need support signaling inclusion in your organization? Reach out to illuceo, Zweig Group’s strategic partner in DEI consulting, for any of your strategic organizational effectiveness and data-driven DEI consulting needs. 

Lauren Aguilar, Ph.D., is founder and CEO of illuceo, Zweig Group’s strategic partner in DEI consulting. Contact her at

Leading with Data Webinar At a time when the AEC industry is in a recruiting and retention crisis and DEI is facing massive backlash, we need to take a deep look at how to really attract and retain top talent. This webinar brings together perspectives from retention and recruiting, strategic planning, data science, and DEI to answer these tough questions and more. Join us June 18. Click here to learn more!

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.